7 Must-Try Floral Techniques to add Beauty with Branches


Photo: Sharon McGukin

Autumn is awesome with possibilities for adding seasonal materials to your floral arrangements. But there’s more to creating captivating fall flower designs than just incorporating the colors and textures of the season. Adding a linear element like branches allows you to expand the space of a floral composition. You’re adding dimension while creating a visual connection to the outdoors. Here are seven techniques (plus a twig-tree project from Smithers-Oasis Floral Design Director Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI you can try) that will enable you to turn twigs and branches into seasonal beauty your customers will want to bring indoors.

Create feel-good designs

Research shows fresh flowers and plants add to our quality of life. They make us feel happier. With autumn, you get crisp air, vibrant colors, rich textures and the stark beauty of bare branches. With the right techniques, you can offer a feel-good blend of fall flowers, foliage, grasses, twigs and more to bring seasonal beauty indoors for your customers. Branches are always a popular addition to floral arrangements but you’ll likely use more of them this time of year. Expand your fall flower collection with a variety of fresh design ideas featuring twigs and branches using the seven must-try floral techniques shown here.

1. Add dimension to designs

Photo: Sharon McGukin

Add layers of floral mesh to a vertical arrangement to elongate and widen the design. The see-through mesh incorporates more horizontal space into the arrangement without making the slender composition look visually heavy. Twist a flexible wire armature into a clear glass vase and tuck in some free-flowing branches to add visual energy to a freeform design, one that cannot be defined as another style.

Photo: Sharon McGukin

Rinse the soil from a sansevieria (aka mother-in-law’s tongue). Insert Cowee wood picks into the base of the plant on one end and the wet foam on the other. The wood pick will swell in the water-saturated foam and help hold the plant in place. Place the sansevieria in the center of the design as the focal point of the composition. Insert long limbs such as these rosehip branches into the design to create the form. Fill in the base of the arrangement with flowers.

2. Differentiate with detail

Add unique detailing by utilizing banding (using a decorative material to encircle a stem or stems) to update basic containers you already have in stock. Encircle the container with a band of UGLU and cover it with a natural material like the natural moss wrap and raffia shown on the container above or a strip of woodland bark. Add a band of UGLU to clear utility vases and press on fall leaves, natural wraps, corn husks, branches or twigs to the outside of the glass. Secure with tightly wound bind wire or rustic wire.

3. Create a dynamic line

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Photo: Sharon McGukin

Use the element of line to establish the form of a composition. Use a straight or static line (a straight vertical or horizontal line that conveys a sense of stability), or a dynamic line (a visually energetic line that adds a dramatic feeling of motion) to create visual energy. This design is created in a raquette. Natural grapevine was woven atop the finished design, incorporating space and adding visual energy. To upgrade the look, mini callas were woven over the top of the branches to add dimension to the design. The same horizontal concept can be created in a wooden container filled with mini callas atop a nest of twigs. [rev_slider alias="branches-and-twigs-2"]

Design: Kevin Ylvisaker

Allow callas to become room temperature. Gently rub your fingers along the stem in a downward motion, pressing along the sides to break the fibers, allowing the stem to become more curved. Cut the stem end at a sharp slant. Insert a toothpick or 2-1/2-inch Cowee wood pick in the end of the stem. Press the calla stem into the wet floral foam until firmly in the foam. The toothpick will help to secure the flower in place. Repeat these steps creating a pattern of delicately curved callas.

4. Expand the space

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Photo: Sharon McGukin

Space is the three-dimensional area of a composition. This 3-D element can be represented by positive space (where the floral materials fill space in a composition) or negative space (the empty space between the floral elements of a design). Positive and negative space can be connected by using a void with a flowerless line of grapevine, curly willow branches or a foliage such as bear or lily grass.

5. Personalize your designs

Photo: Sharon McGukin

Today's consumer is drawn to products perceived to be customized rather than mass-produced. You can personalize your designs by using textural materials native to your area. A mix of fresh and dried flowers offers a tactile blend of surfaces to prove that opposites attract. Rough and smooth. Large and small. Shiny and matte. Round and linear.

6. Create circular designs

[rev_slider alias="branches-and-twigs-4"] Soak vines or twigs in hot water to allow them to become more malleable. You can then easily manipulate these natural materials to encircle your designs, giving form to your compositions. Cut the thick branch stem at a sharp angle and insert firmly into the foam. Use bind or metallic wire to bind the branches together. These exposed mechanics become an integral part of the arrangement.

7. Elevate designs

Design: Carolyn Sheppard

Use a series of branches woven into an elevated table design to create a festive look for a celebratory table. Incorporating water tubes for fresh flowers and hanging votives and tall tapers for a candlelight effect, this display of intense red is a hot look.

Twig Tree project

Try this special project to add a twiggy design to your fall collection. [rev_slider alias="branches-and-twigs-5"]

Design: Kevin Ylvisaker

Branch out with twigs and branches

Capitalize on the physical length and visual strength twigs and branches add to your fall flowers. Whether large or small, arrangements can reach new heights when branches are used to incorporate free space into a saleable design. How can you expand your profits by incorporating fall branches into your designs?

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